Sustainability and energy
Corporate sustainability has taken on new meaning and importance in recent years. What was once primarily an environmental concern, now encompasses a wide range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities.
Ibec’s continuing Better Lives Better Business campaign is predicated on our belief that investment will increasingly flow to countries, regions or cities that prioritise quality of life. This imperative naturally favours businesses that champion the interests of all stakeholders, and that have a proactive approach to climate action, improved air and water quality, the circular economy transition, and biodiversity (including the marine environment). Government policy must be tailored to ensure firms meet their sustainability ambitions in a timely and cost- effective way.
Roads, transport systems, airports, ports, broadband, water, sewage and other utilities have a direct impact on a firm’s productivity, competitiveness, and investment potential. To remain competitive and achieve growth and scale, businesses must be supported by world class infrastructure. We welcome the Government’s investment ambition set out in Budget 2024, particularly the establishment of the National Infrastructure Fund which has the potential to enhance critical infrastructure delivery over the coming decade. Ireland’s ability to deliver critical infrastructure and keep pace with growing demand has been frustrated by costly and cumbersome planning processes, poor spatial planning, and high development costs.
In the short-medium term, affordable energy remains a primary concern for business. Ireland must develop a robust long term energy transition plan to avoid a repeat of the recent electricity supply challenges and ensure Ireland transitions to carbon neutrality in a secure and cost-effective way.
- Strengthen financial and advisory supports for Irish firms developing sustainability strategies in line with industry best practice and legislative requirements.
- Accelerate the transition to carbon neutrality by scaling up and expanding industry supports for renewables and energy efficiency. Provide new financial supports and tax credit incentives to encourage firms embed eco-design principles when innovating.
- Streamline and adequately resource the planning and consents regime to enable delivery of world-class transport and utilities infrastructure.
- Ensure that the EU energy market reform proposals currently being developed by the European Commission take sufficient account of the cross-border nature of the all-island Single Energy Market. There will also be a continuing need to support Irish firms whose viability remains under threat due to energy costs.